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  • Author or Editor: Gordon Walker x
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Post-carbon inclusion and the transformations needed to strip carbon-heavy techno-energies out of urban life are approached through a temporal lens, drawing on rhythmanalytic thinking and on recent moves towards ‘chrono-urbanism’ in urban planning. The urban is conceived in both polyrhythmic and poly-energetic terms and four principles for rhythm oriented de-energization are outlined: decelerating urban processes; reconnecting social, environmental and biological rhythms; localizing polyrhythmic relations; and enabling the shared synchronization and sequencing of rhythms of activity and infrastructure. It is argued that in applying these principles close attention has to be paid to inclusion and to the distribution of the direct and indirect benefits of temporally oriented de-energization strategies. To centre on a practical example, the emblematic case of contemporary chrono-urbanism – the ‘15-minute city’ – is considered. As a superficially appealing objective, under closer examination this highlights both the possibilities but also the tensions involved in temporally as well as spatially reorganizing the reproduction of everyday urban life.

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Recent developments in public access to information on environmental risk concerns are discussed in relation to the regulation of major hazard industry. Confidentiality has traditionally been part and parcel of the ‘consensual’ approach to risk regulation in the UK. However, in response to a number of pressures, including the wider repercussions of accident events at Seveso and Bhopal, moves towards greater openness have been seen. This paper describes and analyses these significant changes in policy, identifies the practical and political basis for the public’s right to know about industrial hazards, and assesses the limits to openness now in place.

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Climate change is making periods of extreme heat both more intense and more frequent in many places around the world. This chapter considers the interrelation between transitioning to a post-carbon condition and the need to simultaneously adapt to the growing threat from extreme heat. We conceptualize ‘keeping cool’ using the framework of the capabilities approach, before exploring how exclusion from cooling operates within low-income communities in the Global South. We argue that cool inclusion demands explicit attention to social justice, that it entails a fundamental recognition of the struggles involved in avoiding or coping with heat, and that it should be premised on the thermal autonomy to secure what cooling is most needed for. Strategies for cooling in a decarbonizing world must not assume blanket holding down of energy use, but rather engage in questions of justice in relation to populations routinely rendered invisible, illegal and impoverished, including in overarching transition discourses.

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Transitions Built on Justice

This collection pays unique attention to the highly challenging problems of addressing inequality within decarbonisation – particularly under-explored aspects, such as high consumption, degrowth approaches and perverse outcomes.

Contributors point out means and possibilities of the transition from high carbon inequalities to post-carbon inclusion. They apply a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches in all-inclusive ways to diverse challenges, such as urban heating and retrofitting.

Richly illustrated with case studies from the city to the household, this book critically examines ‘just transitions’ to achieve sustainable societies in the future.

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Inclusion is so central to the response to climate change that any response that does not place inclusion at the centre imperils the whole project and, therefore, the future of humanity. Current proposed solutions to mitigate climate change are exacerbating inequality, and feeding both misery and resistance to climate mitigation as a societal goal. While markets create the poverty and the social boundaries that imperil decarbonization, national governments protect national interests against planetary interests, inter-generational interests and inter-species interests. Post-carbon inclusion is, thus, not simply a ‘nice-to-have’ combination, rather it is a necessary agenda that supersedes decarbonization via business-as-usual processes.

The implications for post-carbon inclusion research and practice are grouped here into three entangled and overlapping elements: mapping the terrain through deeper understandings of society and practice; resetting rights and justice; and empowerment and agency. The resultant agenda provides directions for research and policy communities working in partnership in the growing field of post-carbon inclusion studies. As pointed out by movements of environmental justice, degrowth and social justice, hope lies in new forms of engagement, in new agents and actors operating in new ways.

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As efforts to address the climate crisis (hopefully) continue to multiply across the urban world, two central questions are brought to the fore: first, how could these efforts be made effective and sufficient to address the climate emergency and heal the planet for future generations? Second, to what extent can effective actions also promote justice and inclusion? To address these questions, this chapter sets out four starting premises and introduces key concepts of post-carbon inclusion, set against current initiatives on ecological modernization, circular economies, just transitions, socio-technical transitions and degrowth. Decarbonization and inequality are entangled at multiple scales, whether planetary, national, regional, city, local community or house(hold). The implications and ramifications of such socio-technological entanglement matter insofar as they might reinforce each other; they might present as a Faustian bargain. For example, is the rush for minerals to feed low carbon technology unacceptably exacerbating global ecosystem decline? This chapter describes how efforts to decarbonize necessarily disrupt and reconfigure domestic and urban scale infrastructures and practices, generating new patterns of difference and marginality, as illustrated in the various chapters throughout the book.

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Urban areas are concentrated spaces of fossil fuel burning, always contributing in some degree to both the damaging local effects of polluted urban air and the damaging consequences of accelerated global climate change. For this reason, there are clear and realizable synergies in acting across the domains of air quality governance and carbon governance simultaneously. However, inequalities and injustice already exist in both domains, and it remains an open question whether, in transitioning towards a post-carbon condition, such patterns of inequality will remain or diminish. Whether the apparent co-benefits of acting on carbon and urban air pollutants together will be shared in ways that are inclusive of all parts of urban society or skewed towards only some is also uncertain. In this chapter we consider various dimensions of these questions, focusing on how urban air, and those breathing it in, may fare as transitions unfold.

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